Why are some companies slowly developing mobile apps ?

If you follow this blog, you will already know I have a bit of an interest in mobile apps for chemistry and science in general. This is through having ideas like Green Solvents, Open Drug Discovery Teams and TB Mobile  (which are all free apps) and then getting a great developer like Alex Clark involved that knows the space backwards (we now have a paper published on TB Mobile too).

I was fortunate a while back to be on a paper with some of the pioneers in chemistry mobile app development. This laid out some of the needs for mobile apps and described some that existed as of 2011. What has been very interesting for some time has been the lack of mobile apps from some of the entrenched desktop cheminformatics companies. One could hypothesize that their lack of apps is because they see it as undermining a revenue source (lets keep the customer tied to the desktop while we take their subscriptions). Its pretty clear that this is a hole that many smaller companies have exploited by putting out chemistry drawing tools. Though in some cases they are a not so thinly veiled marketing ploy for a companies desktop offerings. A few of the drawing apps are really just as powerful as anything on a desktop see our listing on structure drawing apps. I for one have started to do far more cheminformatics on my iPad so its just a matter of time before the majority of my work happens on it and via the cloud.

Well, now I see from a recent email that one of the desktop cheminformatics vendors, Perkin Elmer is looking for feedback in order to develop ChemDraw for mobile devices..hey lets call it ChemDraw Mobile..

Subject: Help Build ChemDraw Mobile

Dear X,
XTM, a user-centric design firm working on behalf of PerkinElmer, is conducting an online survey to collect your ideas and expectations for a mobile version of ChemDraw.
This activity should take 10 – 15 minutes to complete. Go to the Survey.
Thanks so much for helping us create our new mobile application. We are looking forward to incorporating your input!
Best regards,Hans Keil Sr. Director of Product Management, Mobile Applications PerkinElmer | For the Better
Go to the Survey.

So here is my feedback, forget the fancy survey. Might I just suggest they look at the chemistry mobile apps already available, many of them are free, and just either buy the small company or sponsor the app. There is a precedent for sponsorship of already developed apps as the RSC recently sponsored Green Solvents and Lab Solvents.

These might be cheaper options and honestly does the world need yet another mobile chemistry drawing package? I leave that upto the bean counters and investors to answer!


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